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Galaxy S7 is the first phone with Dual Pixel autofocus, here's what it means

Galaxy S7 is the first phone with Dual Pixel autofocus, here's what it means
We couldn't help but wonder why did Samsung move from the already blazing fast phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) to an obscure Dual Pixel technology on the newly-announced Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Not only is the 12 MP camera sensor a radical departure from the megapixel rat race we've seen on flagship phones for a few years now, but the whole camera module is brand new, with 56% bigger individual pixels, compared to he S6, and this Dual Pixel focusing for the first time in a phone.

So, what exactly will this new focusing tech bring that PDAF couldn't? Phase detection is better than the widespread contrast detection as it only has to take one measurement from opposite sides of the lens to figure out where to, and how far a lens has to be moved to achieve focus, for instance, making the whole focusing process quicker. PDAF does that by having up to 10% of the total number of pixels equipped with "focusing" photodiodes (Apple even calls them Focus Pixels), and dispersing them strategically throughout the sensor area. How about multiplying even that speed, and adding more accuracy to the mix, too? 

This is what the Dual Pixel sensor on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge is trying to achieve, as it employs two photodiodes for every single pixel, so instead of 5-10% of the pixels being used for focusing, a 100% of them will now. The implications for focusing speed and accuracy are huge, especially with moving objects, live footage, or in low-light scenarios, and we can't wait to grab a bite, and clash Samsung's new Dual Pixel AF system with Sony's fresh Predictive Hybrid Autofocus on the new Xperia X-series.

Galaxy S7 is the first phone with Dual Pixel autofocus, here's what it means


source: Samsung

67 Comments
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posted on 23 Feb 2016, 03:53 4

1. BradyCrack (Posts: 612; Member since: 29 Dec 2015)


I want better lowlight detail, not night vision (though pretty damn cool).

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:01 23

5. Shocky (unregistered)


Faster focusing will help in lowlight as well.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:31 17

14. neops (Posts: 285; Member since: 28 Jan 2014)


That video doesn't show the difference in autofocusing speed, only low light efficiency difference. Still, it's very fast http://tinyurl.com/gnb3df4

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:23 5

29. rd_nest (Posts: 1593; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


Check this for low light test:

http://phandroid.com/2016/02/22/samsung-galaxy-s7-vs-s6-vs-iphone-6s-low-light-camera-comparison-video/

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 06:07 1

44. srk_s_rao (unregistered)


Need more control over the camera.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:24 8

30. rd_nest (Posts: 1593; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


S7 vs G5 camera comparison:

https://hi-tech.mail.ru/news/samsung-galaxy-s7-lg-g5-camera-compare/

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 07:31 4

49. TerryTerius (Posts: 1672; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


I will forever love Google for auto translate. That aside, that is a noticeable difference. I don't think the gap will be quite as significant once everything is finalized and the Phones go on sale, but the s7 photos look better hands down.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 08:00 7

50. johanbiff (Posts: 389; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


damn, the S7 killed the G5

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:26

53. j2001m (Posts: 2886; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


I be thinking it do big time damage even in 16:9 mode, I be thinking clear images but you may not get the zoom of the 4:3, but it be a good mode to deal with the lg G5 wide mode,

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 11:22

62. Trex95 (Posts: 883; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Nice S7 camera takes nice photo especially after changed the ratio to 4:3 instated of 16:9. But I noticed some pinkish especially at hand photo doesn't look natural like G5 photo?!.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 03:54 11

2. Shocky (unregistered)


Great feature.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:43 3

37. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


No need for that gimmicks.

Why not Xenon flash and optical zoom.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 17:15 1

64. medtxa (Posts: 1130; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


flash make picture look not natural. obviously

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 20:12

65. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1329; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Yeah we get it, everything samsung makes are gimmicks.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 03:56 2

3. w1000i (Posts: 71; Member since: 22 Jul 2015)


PDAF is mind blowing fast and I can't see how much this faster

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:58 2

42. TerryTerius (Posts: 1672; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


From what I can see from a few videos about it and having owned the S6 edge, the S7 seems to be nearly instantaneous. I wouldn't venture to say it is twice as fast as the S6, but it's close to that.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:01 3

4. Tarox (Posts: 104; Member since: 17 Feb 2015)


awesome technology that samsung is delivering here. S6 camera is still one of best in class if not for most shots best in class and they are already stepping up the game by a big amount.... crazy guys in their photo department

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:01 9

6. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


What a waste of R&D. Auto focus was already fast enough. They could have fit a bigger or better sensor than the abomination that's in the s7.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:08 25

8. tech2 (Posts: 3427; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Well it looked quite a bit faster then auto focus in the presentation at least. I think you're being a bit too harsh on Samsung just because they didn't put the rumored sensor size but that's how rumors are.

Lets wait and see how it actually turns out in a review from independent reviewers. So far its looking good to me and a significant improvement over S6 which was pretty good to begin with.

I think there might be a good enough reason why Samsung didn't put the rumored sensor as its unlike Samsung to not include the absolute latest and greatest in their flagship.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:15 1

11. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


It's not about rumors. It's about them putting lower sensor size than 6 month old phones.

On most phones, auto-focus takes much less than 0.5 seconds. Making that 0.1 or even 0 won't make that much of a difference.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:36 2

16. tech2 (Posts: 3427; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


hmmm.....that's fair but we both are shooting in the dark when we say why Samsung hasn't included the bigger sensor. It could very be Samsung trying to cut cost or any other technical reason but like I said its unlike Samsung.

Anyway, noob here but could the bigger aperture size have affected the sensor size.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:54 2

22. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


I don't think so. Let's wait and see how the camera turns out. My guess is that it will be better than competition, but not by much. That's where I have issues as this phone can get destroyed later this year by new nexus/iPhone.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:29 3

34. tech2 (Posts: 3427; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Looking at the iPhone's camera of the past few generations their improvements have been pretty small. So I am not too hopeful.

As for Nexus, even 6P with its 2.3 sensor was only able to perform better then S6 during low light scenarios only and S7 has made quite a significant improvement at least for low light scenarios. So I am not so sure even a sensor size of Nexus would've made a significant difference.

You might say its because of Samsung's image processing but as Macready said it might as well be because increase aperture to f1.7.

You might be right when you talk about the competition exceeding but I think you're overestimating the competition looking at the history.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:48

39. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


S7 should beat Nexus 6P easily. The difference in pixel size is not much, Samsung easily makes up for more than that in aperture, lens quality, OIS and much superior software. As I said, the current competition shouldn't be much of a challenge.

It's high time for iPhone to improve optics. They are lagging behind too much. And Nexus was good in 2015. So I expect them to up their game this year.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 08:40

51. tech2 (Posts: 3427; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Done a bit of digging (not much to do in lunch break. Moriarty's dead so life's pretty boring now) and actually think Macready might be correct here. Phones generally having larger sensor are sacrificing on aperture. PA had done an article on phones with biggest sensor a while ago and none with bigger sensor had aperture as wide as S7's. They have listed the aperture in the article as well. Check it out:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/These-are-the-smartphones-with-the-largest-camera-sensors-on-the-planet_id64702

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:03

52. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


I guess you're right. Then again, super large apertures are not very good alternative to large sensors. Large sensors are better at everything(except cost and compactness), while larger aperture can have disadvantages like edge softness and aberrations.

Though I'm sure Samsung has taken care of those issues. Let's wait and see. But it sure murders almost all cameras right now.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:31

54. j2001m (Posts: 2886; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Mate you also got the cam case thing to upgrade the cam even more if needed

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:39

57. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


that just gives us wide angle or zoom capabilities. It doesn't improve quality of image.

It's kinda like the gimmick of G5. I don't care about wide angle.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:41 14

19. Macready (Posts: 906; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


In low light, it can actually take seconds on most phones. This is where the S7 made leaps.

The faster lens helps it gather as much light as some competitors with slightly larger sensors. In that sense, going from f1. 9 to f1. 7 makes a larger difference than going from 1/2.6“ to say 1/2.3".

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:05 3

26. Shocky (unregistered)


Exactly, issues with focusing speed are why so many low light shots turn out so bad.

This won't eliminate the problem but will most definitely help.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:16

27. pmsap (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 May 2015)


I was hoping, as Tyrion was, for at least a 1/2.3". That was the main advantage of nexus 6p camera. I was expecting them to match and raise a bit (for instance the f1.7). They remained in the 1/2.5". It's a shame. It seems that they are saving stuff for a mid-year upgrade (aka Galaxy Note). It makes sense for them to do so. They have to differentiate the Note from the "regular" S line. Or why would anyone bother to buy? Right now I expect the Note to present us the 6Gb RAM and some increase in sensor size.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:48

40. Shocky (unregistered)


It's not just about the size of the sensor, the Nexus 6P isn't exactly blowing us away with it's low light performance.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 06:34 4

46. Macready (Posts: 906; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


You can't beat physics yet. A larger sensor like 1/2.3" or larger would mean a bigger camera module= more protrusion, unless you go for a SLOWER aperture (than the f/1.9 on the S6 for example). That's why the 6P camera has to make do with f/2.0. And to put that into perspective, the jump from f/2 to f/1.7 gains you more than twice as much light (about 50%) as going from 1/2.6" to 1/2.3" with the same aperture (about 20%).

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:38 1

56. j2001m (Posts: 2886; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


This is also very true and why Samsung gone with 1/2.5 and it as nothing to do with being cheap as some in here like to say, it's not, game of thrones man got it wrong

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:35

55. j2001m (Posts: 2886; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


This is very true in the dark the auto focus take a very long time on all phone and then takes crap images, this is not the case for the s7, this is big as most images are taken when you with your mates I. Pub and clubs and in home and at work, I. Low light area, this is very big as in the past if you did this then normal day time images was crap like m7, in Samsung case they even killing the G5, it game over for the other phones when it comes to the cam, I be upgrading my 6 months old edge plus just for this on it own as all my images are always in low light in 98% of cases

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:10 24

9. GreekGeek (Posts: 1276; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)


You haven't even sniffed an S7, how the hell would you call it an abomination?

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:33 1

15. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


I called the sensor an abomination. The phone actually has pretty solid camera.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:40 9

17. Aploine (Posts: 426; Member since: 24 Oct 2013)


"You call it" ment for the sensor I guess. Auto-focus speed does matter if you want to catch the moment

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:41 9

18. someone12 (Posts: 177; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)


Just shut up and let the professionals decide rather it's an abomination or not.
Let's wait for dxomark review.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:25 11

31. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


DxOMark is your standard for smartphone 'professionals'. A site that ranks Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S above nokia 808 has absolutely no credibility. DxO is good for DSLRs, and DSLRs only.

Well, I'd show myself out. There's no point of even arguing.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:46 1

38. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


Well said.

It should've came with Nokia1020 camera.
I never mind the hump. Atleast it's better than any camera till 2019

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:49 1

41. Shocky (unregistered)


Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:59

43. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


What did he say wrong?

Nothing can compete with 808 or 1020 925 camera.

These are Sonys standard imx camera lens. Not CarlZeiss with xenon.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 06:37 5

47. Macready (Posts: 906; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


No, DXO weighs all factors, not just resolution or noise. They weigh focusing, artifacts, noise, resolution, dynamic range etc. Where the 808 absolutely falls short, is dynamic range, mostly due to high read noise. Their attempt to compensate for more shadow noise with a "hotter" (closer to or past the saturation point) exposures, just results in tons of clipped highlights and even some midtones. Focusing isn't exactly a strong suit either, nor is corner sharpness.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:29

13. vuyonc (Posts: 1003; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


It's less about adding speed and more about accuracy and covering more of the frame.

OK LOL, it is a bit of waste of money. I don't think sensors genuinely need that many focal points in the frame but just enough frame coverage. I think going for software improvements in focus tracking makes more fiscal sense like Sony did. Samsung could've had the IMX240 enlarged, broadened the PDAF frame and called it a day even.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:28 4

33. manojmcn (Posts: 462; Member since: 16 Jul 2015)


You are mistaking the sensor size with the number of pixels(megapixel count). The sensor of the S7 is same size as the S6, while they reduced the number of pixels(from 16 to 12). In return, the pixel size was increased from 1.15micron to 1.4 micron. Also increased the aperture of the lens to f1.7 (f1.9 for S6). Add to that the implementation of Dual pixel for better & faster focus & video. These combinations should help S7 camera make better, faster, cleaner images in all situations including low light & fast actions.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:06 8

7. manojmcn (Posts: 462; Member since: 16 Jul 2015)


S7 absolutely destroys iphone 6s & galaxy s6 in low light image quality:

Check how they shoot the same subject in low light:

S7Edge:http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-conten​t/uploads/2016/02/Samsung-Galaxy-S7-sample-low-lig​ht-20160222_173921.jpg

Iphone 6S:http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/up​loads/2016/02/iPhone-6S-sample.jpg

S6 Edge:http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Samsung-Galaxy-S6-Edge-20160223_173824.jpg

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:13 3

10. tech2 (Posts: 3427; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Yeah I saw that too but if you see the actual video S7 is on a stand while the others aren't. That makes a big difference especially with iPhone which doesn't have OIS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL9JoBqI6IE

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:24

12. manojmcn (Posts: 462; Member since: 16 Jul 2015)


Understand, but then having OIS is an additional selling point for S7

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:41

20. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


25s picture on tthe s6 was much brighter then they minimised the app and the picture preview deteriorated greatly. Cheating, biased scumbags.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 04:54 1

21. Macready (Posts: 906; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


Unless the S7 was used in a long exposure mode (which doesn't appear to be the case), it can only make a difference for sharpness. Not for noise and brightness of the pictures.

posted on 24 Feb 2016, 00:28

66. Hypergy (Posts: 54; Member since: 24 Feb 2016)


^ This guy knows what he's talking about.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:00 1

23. donno (Posts: 4; Member since: 18 Dec 2015)


Would be interesting to compare with Lumia 950.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:22

28. jontaylor07 (Posts: 162; Member since: 12 Oct 2015)


I don't think I've seen PA do any comparisons in a while... I know I haven't seen any including the 950. I guess I'll have to check gsmarena or some other sites.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:02 3

24. barcas (Posts: 48; Member since: 01 Sep 2014)


Guys watch this, my S6 is quite quick to focus but not like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEblmHmKz3c

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:44

59. j2001m (Posts: 2886; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Ha, they never said anything about the front cam having the screen flash like the iPhone, love it

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:04 1

25. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


749 euros for the G5. LG.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:26 2

32. KillTheKardashians (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 19 Feb 2016)


And no goodie for free ^^

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 05:30 2

35. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


Yep, they're screwed if it's the real price. Was expecting 650 euros.

posted on 23 Feb 2016, 09:46

60. j2001m (Posts: 2886; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Hahahahhahaha, if that the price you soon see all the cheap lg users saying its a crap phone very fast, they was only support them as they was cheap

But what I have noted if they do any new tech and not old tech like normal, I.e. Included ufs and sd820 and so on, they are very $$$$$$$ like Samsung, I.e. Take there oled TVs they cost crap loads

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